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FHSU Announces New Federal Funding to Expand the Number of Nursing Professionals in Rural Kansas


By FHSU University Communications


HAYS, Kan – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran was on the campus of Fort Hays State University to join FHSU President Tisa Mason and leaders from the university’s Department of Nursing to announce the award of two Health and Human Services Administration federal grants totaling more than $4 million. The grant funding will assist FHSU in expanding the number of highly-trained nursing professionals in rural Kansas.

In her opening remarks, FHSU President Tisa Mason noted the remarkable success of the FHSU Department of Nursing as evidenced by the quality of the nursing professionals their program produces. Mason pointed out that the 93% pass rate FHSU nursing graduates posted on licensure examinations in 2022 is higher than the average among KBOR universities (86%), the average among all nursing programs in the state (82%), and higher than the national average (80%).

“The good news we are sharing today is the direct result of the way our nursing colleagues relentlessly pursue excellence in nursing education – at a time when the nursing shortage in rural Kansas is a very real challenge,” Mason said.

Senator Moran followed Mason to the podium and noted the importance of quality healthcare to the vitality of rural Kansas communities.

“When you look at the factors that determine the future prospects of a community, one of the most critical is access to healthcare,” Moran said. “It means families can stay, and babies can be born in our communities. And it means that our seniors can remain in their homes.”

He also commended the FHSU Department of Nursing for their work in preparing detailed and compelling grant applications.

“These successes happen when there is a grant application that merits the use of taxpayer dollars,” Moran said.

Dr. Jenny Manry, the chair of the FHSU Department of Nursing, thanked Moran for his support of the work on behalf of her department and the university and recognized the contributions of her nursing colleagues in their pursuit of the two grants.

I am especially proud of our team,” Manry said. “HRSA grants take weeks to write and are a collaborative effort of staff and faculty. Our NEPQR grant proposal scored an amazing 102 out of 100 points, and our ANEW grant submission scored 98 out of 100.”

Both of the federal grants awarded to the FHSU Department of Nursing are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources & Services Administration division.

The Department of Nursing’s Dr. Michelle VanDerWege shared details on the first grant, a 4-year Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program (ANEW) grant in the amount of $2,599,647.13 over four years.

“Students chosen to receive ANEW grant funding who plan to practice in rural western Kansas will receive more than $20,000 as a stipend for the final 3-years of the grant,” VanDerWege said. “And through this grant, we will provide onsite continuing education through National Certification Review courses and Skills workshops free of charge to our preceptors and students.”

The second grant, a 3-year $1,499,793 award, is a Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) grant. Dr. Tanya Smith, an assistant department chair and associate professor of nursing, then offered details on the second grant.

“The NEPQR-SET grant will be used to support expanded simulation training that prepares nursing students for service in rural areas,” Smith said. “Students who indicate their plan to pursue positions planning west of Salina will receive $10,000 after completing a simulation residency in their final semester.”

The Department of Nursing at Fort Hays State University incorporates the latest technology in a feedback-driven, student-focused environment. Department programs are built upon a foundation of highly qualified faculty who are eager to share rich clinical and nursing experiences in a small-class setting. Programs offered include the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The Department is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.